Monday, July 27, 2009

There is Not Always a Good Reason

Okay, I am going to write something that may shock you.

I no longer believe that everything happens for a reason - at least not in the way that most Christians think.

Certainly everything happens for a reason - someone made a decision. But, to often we attribute events and circumstances to God that I don't believe belong in God's lap.

For instance, when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast all kinds of people were trying to make sense of that event - including some prominent Christian leaders. Some Christians claimed it was God's punishment on New Orleans for the sin of the French Quarter or gambling.


Then why was the French Quarter still standing and the first district to open up after Katrina? Did God miss the target? Did God not whip up a strong enough hurricane? Why were the casinos the second to open up and had their best year ever because people had nothing to do in New Orleans except gamble?

After terrorist rammed airplanes and their passengers into the World Trade Center in 2001, some Christian leaders claimed it was God's punishment on America for our tolerance of homosexuality. Where did they get that one??? I was unaware that everyone who died were either homosexual or pro-homosexual or that the World Trade Center was in any way connected with homosexuality - except, perhaps in some freaky Freudian way.

Last year Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter was killed in an accident when her older brother ran her over. It was tremendously tragic. People told the Chapman family that this event "happened for a reason."

What reason???

What they meant, of course, is that God created the circumstances by which the daughter ran out behind the vehicle at the same time her brother was backing up. An SUV is much heavier than a five-year-old and thus killed her - for some reason that only God knows.

Is that how God works??? Is that in the nature of God to kill a little girl with a car, or to displace thousands of people by a hurricane or to kill thousands of people through terrorists to teach us a lesson or prove a point???

Does cancer happen for a reason? Does most of the things that happen to people that they didn't choose into happen for a reason???

In one way they do. Someone made a choice. The reason some people get lung cancer is because they smoke four packs a day. The reason thousands of people died on September 11th is because some angry, radical, fringe zealots made a decision. The reason that hurricanes happen is because of atmospheric conditions.

Sometimes, a variety of unrelated circumstances converge with very tragic outcomes. It's called chaos theory.

Back to God.

When people look into the eyes of someone who just lost their daughter, or father; or just found out they have breast cancer or they lost their job, and they say "This happened for a reason;" let's not be quick to blame it on God.

Over and over again in the Bible I read how people make really bad decisions that wind up with very tragic outcomes and God works with those choices and within those outcomes to bring about some kind of good for people. Over and over I read in the Bible how chaos happens in life and God is there among us trying to bring as much good as possible.

So, in the traditional sense, I don't believe that everything happens for a reason. But, I do believe that God works in ALL things (the stuff we chose into and the stuff we didn't) to bring about the most good possible. (see Romans 8:28)

So, instead of blaming God and asking those unanswerable "why" questions, I am encouraging people to turn to God and trust God is at work in all things to bring about good in our lives.

There's not always a good reason. But, there is ALWAYS a good God.